A few months ago, my parents were debating what to do with two gorgeous old suitcases they’d accumulated over the years. They were contemplating throwing them away when I swooped in and showed my dad a picture of a suitcase chair I’d been swooning over. I asked him if he thought we could make one and he smiled and said of course we could. Yesterday, my darling dad delivered this dream chair to my door, and I’ve already commissioned him to make another one with the other case – greedy I know!
I am completely in love with my new seat, not least of all because it was my mum’s and comes with a sweet, funny little story from her days at UCT. My dad spent hours making every aspect of this chair, from building the frame to attaching the legs, sourcing the foam, covering it in fabric, specially covering little buttons in the same fabric and finding me unique luggage tags to make it look more authentic. The amount of work that went into it makes me tear up a little, and the finished product is everything I wished for and more. I have a feeling this is one of those things I’ll keep for ever and possibly pass onto my own children one day.
I’m flipping lucky to have a DIY ninja dad who I can pretty much show any picture to and have him build beautifully. We roughly followed this internet tutorial but dad made the frame sturdier and we also changed the finishing on the buttons. The leather straps on the side are quite essential to keep the top and bottom of the case sturdy, and we also reinforced the case’s hinges to make sure it stays strong. We used very short legs, so we’re thinking of venturing into something a bit taller next time, though I’m quite happy with the way the legs look currently. We used a staple gun to attach the fabric to the foam, which we reinforced with hardboard. This worked perfectly and saved us from having to sew anything.
Combining my wanderlust with my love for design, this pretty little couch is my new favourite thing. Thanks mum for sparing your beautiful case, and to dad for building me something so gorgeous. We’re considering taking commissions, so let me know if you’re interested in a custom-built suitcase settee!